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Clare Balding speaks of London 2012 at sold out charity dinner in High Wycombe
CLARE Balding spoke to a sold out dinner party in High Wycombe last night about her time presenting the Olympics and Paralympics.
The sports presenter who received widespread praise for her BBC coverage of London 2012 was talking as patron of the South Bucks Hospice Butterfly Appeal.
She took on the role in memory of her friend, Heather Dillon, who died from cancer in May and was cared for at the hospice in Amersham Road.
The Butterfly Appeal is the final element of a long running campaign that has seen more than £2m raised of the £3m needed for a new hospice, which will be built in Totteridge Lane.
The charity dinner at De Vere in Uplands House had 200 paying guests.
Clare told the Free Press why she became patron: "I know the hospice was very important for Heather. She asked me to get involved last year in the brick campaign.
"And so I did that for her and figured in her memory I should do something a little more long term."
She added: "She was great and full of joy. She was a very warm and lovely person to be around. And I just think it is a nice thing to do."
Heather, who was in her 50s, died of multi organ cancer and worked at the South Bucks Hospice as an Appeals Manager.
The hospice has so far raised £2 million of the £3million needed for the project and are well on their way to raising the final £1m.
Clare said: "I might be able to help raise the final money they need."
The new building will combine the current facilities at Pusey House in Amersham Road and Cedar Barn lymphodema clinic in Hazlemere.
Clare said: "The point about building the new building it will be absolutely purpose built and there will be wheelchair access and everything will be planned to make people as comfortable as they can be."
The sports presenter had thyroid cancer.
She said she was very lucky as it was caught early and she went for a scan last week and gave her the official all clear.
She said: "I think it is very important really whether you are healthy or not to be surrounded by people who give you time and who keep you feeling good about yourself."
She said she has been "pretty surprised" at the attention she has received since being a sports presenter on the BBC for the Olympics and Paralympics.
She said: "I had a brilliant time. I think it is better to go into an event and be enthusiastic about it and want to share the excitement of it."
And she said she really believes watching sport can help people going through treatment, as it is something to focus on and get involved in.
At the dinner she spoke about her experiences of London 2012 and how not only has the Games inspired a new generation of athletes but also of volunteers.
She donated 170 copies of her book, My Animals and Other Family to the charity, which were for sale, and she signed copies for guests.
The evening raised £4,000.
The Butterfly Appeal is asking members of the public to buy a brick to go in the garden at the new hospice in the Butterfly walks. Prices start at £75 and people can have an inscription on the brick.
To help fundraise or donate to the new hospice go to www.sbh.org.uk, email email@example.com or call 01494 464045.